discernment, God's word

Deception: are you buying it?

My heart is heavy.  This morning I am reminded that the enemy is a roaring lion looking for people to devour.  We are mostly devoured subtly, I think.  There are people that struggle with illicit drugs and sex, but most people I know are devoured by what look, in the beginning, like seemingly good things.  It then becomes their destruction.   What is most heavy on me is that this destruction happens within the walls of Christendom.(do people even use that word anymore?  This is my first time.)   The more I walk, the more I see that most people who claim the name of Christ are pretty clueless to what his word says.  We rely on someone else to tell us or a new book that sounds cool and new and different.  We are swept away by new thought and cling to that to give us meaning.  We are enamored by “Christian” gurus or speakers.  It breaks my heart that people can listen to speakers and read books by others and they do not even think twice when the very foundation of being a Christ follower is rocked.  What I see time and time again is biblical illiteracy.   Until I was a senior in college, the Bible was a cursory thing in my life.  I would have said that it was extremely important to me, but the way I lived, I used it to give a back up rationale for my thoughts and actions.  I used it for a little encouragement here and there for some decision I had to make.   Looking back, it was sort of like caffeine to me–using it to boost my life when I ran out of steam on my own.  I was highly convicted during this time to look deeply into it, and I was changed.  Things I assumed about God were shown empty.  Other things that I had not thought of before brought the richness of who he is to the forefront in my life.  At that time, my foundation was turned from what the church had taught me to the beauty of living by his word.  That reliance and process keeps growing in my life to this day…11 years later.   His word teaches me his character, his plan, his sovereignty…my sin, his sufficiency.  It is a treasure that keeps pointing my wayward heart back to him.  When I am out of it for a day or several days, I am spent, lacking, limping, and am quick to think of myself before all else.  The other day, my friend Tiffany and I actually looked through Psalm 119 to study the benefits of God’s word…wow.  There are a lot of them–it is a treasure.  To think that God sovreignly gave us his word to show us himself, to guide us, to convict us, to plainly tell us of Christ (all throughout his word), to keep us rooted in the truth of who he is….I am beyond thankful (but yet ashamed that I do not study it enough).   Yesterday, I was at a used bookstore in Knoxville where they have ‘give away’ bins.  Basically, they put books in that they do not think they can sell–usually there are random text books from the 70’s and really bad novels, etc.  It is always fun to think that you can get something for free, but usually, no dice on getting my interest.  However, as I was walking by yesterday, a Bible caught my eye.  A Bible, probably the most costly book ever.  There was a time in the pre-Reformation period where no one, except the very rich and educated in the Catholic church, had a Bible, and now, this one was thrown in a bin for free.   Is this a commentary on its worth to many?  As I look around, I think it is.  Daily, people I know are being swayed and devoured by lies.  Not just lies about their worth, etc–lies about Christ–about God’s character–the very truths shown in God’s word.  And, they do not even bat an eye because they have not studied.  They are swayed by sentiment and feeling and worldly wisdom.  I get swayed by it, too.  That is the very time I am reminded that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  I am reminded that our human wisdom is lacking (1 Corinthians 1:17).  His word shows us his truth.  It shows us the truth of this time…

 ‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But, you keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.’  2 Timothy 4:3-5  

  Is this the time where I name names?  My personality really hates to do that, but I see that people continued to be glossed over  not reading or living with discernment.  Just because something sounds good and cool…do not swallow it.  Take it to God’s word….actually, spend more time there than anywhere else.  Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the Truth through it.  Memorize it.  Live your life by it.  Realize it’s transforming power–it is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).  Dig deep into the meat instead of living life lazily on the surface.  Look at the whole counsel of God–the Old and New testaments…study through a whole book instead of verses you go to to feel good.  Follow what it says–trust God that the way he lays out handling conflict is wise and best instead of human practices (Matthew 5:21-26, Matthew 18).  Put feet to your faith.  If you spend more time in it than being enamored by a new author which seeks to ‘redefine’ Christianity, you may see fruit beyond what you ever imagined in your life.   I beg of you, study his word.  Pray that he show you himself through it.  Be diligent in pursuing godliness.  This takes time and effort, but it is worth a thousand-fold.   

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